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Enter CLEÆRETA, from her house.
If any purchaser should come, he could not carry him away from me each single word of those for gold Philippean pieces. What you say wrongfully against us is good gold and silver. Your heart is locked up here with us, at the helm of Cupid. With oars and with sails make haste and fly as fast as you can; the further you betake yourself to sea, the more the tide will bring you back to harbour. ARGYRIPPUS
I faith, I'll be depriving this custom-house officer1 of his dues. From henceforth I'll persist in treating you as you have deserved of me and mine, since you have treated me not as I deserve, in excluding me from your house. CLEAERETA
I know that that is rather said with the tongue, than that it will happen in deed. ARGYRIPPUS
I alone have brought you from obscurity and from want; if I alone patronize you, you can never return sufficient thanks. CLEAERETA
Do you still be the only one to patronize me, if you alone will always give me what I ask. Do you always keep what has been promised you, on this condition, that you surpass others in your presents. ARGYRIPPUS
What limit is there to be to giving? For really you can never be satisfied; the moment that you've received something, not very long after, you are devising something for you to be asking for. CLEAERETA
What limit is there to be to your enjoying yourself, and to your indulging your amour? Can you never be satisfied? The moment that you have sent her home, that instant, you are directly asking me to send her back to you. ARGYRIPPUS
In fact, I have given whatever you have demanded of me. CLEAERETA
And I have sent the damsel to you. A requital has been given, like for like; a return for the money. ARGYRIPPUS
You treat me badly. CLEAERETA
Why do you blame me if I do my duty? For nowhere is it either feigned in story or represented in pictures or written in poems, where a procuress, who wishes to thrive, treats any lover well. ARGYRIPPUS
Still, 'twere right for you to show favour to me at least, that I might last the longer for you. CLEAERETA
Don't you know, the woman that shows favour to a lover, that same woman shows little favour to herself? Just like a fish, so is a lover to a procuress; he's good for nothing if ne isn't fresh. Then it has juice, then it has sweetness; in any fashion you like you may season it, either stewed or roasted; ill any way you will, you may turn it. So the lover; he's ready to give, he longs for something to be asked of him, for there it's taken from a full stock, nor does he know what he's giving, or what mischief he's doing. Of this matter does the new lover think; he wishes himself to please his mistress, he wishes to please me, he wishes to please her lady's maid2, he wishes to please the men-servants, he wishes to please the maid-servants as well, and even my dog does he caress, that when it sees him, it may be delighted. I tell the truth; it shows cleverness for every person to be fair-dealing for his own advantage. ARGYRIPPUS
I've thoroughly learned that this is true, to my own great misfortune. CLEAERETA
I' faith, if you now had anything to give, you'd be uttering different remarks; now, since you've got nothing, you expect to be having her by means of harsh language. ARGYRIPPUS
'Tis not my way. CLEAERETA
Nor yet mine, indeed, i' faith, to be sending her to you for nothing; but this shall be done out of regard for your youthful age and your own sake, since you have rather been the cause of profit to us than of reputation to yourself. If two talents of silver3 are paid me down, reckoned in my hand, this night will I grant you for nothing, as a present, by reason of my respect for you. ARGYRIPPUS
What if I haven't it? CLEAERETA
I'll believe that you haven't it--still, she shall go to another. ARGYRIPPUS
Where is that which I have given you already? CLEAERETA
Spent; for if it was remaining to me, the damsel should be sent to you, and I should never ask for anything. Daylight, water, the sun, the moon, the night, these things I purchase not with money; the rest, whatever we wish to enjoy, we purchase on Grecian trust4. When we ask bread of the baker, wine from the wineshop--if they receive the money, they give their wares; the same principle do I go upon. My hands always have eyes in them; they believe what they see. There's an old saying, "trusting is good for nought5;" you know whose it is--I say no more. ARGYRIPPUS
Now I'm clean stripped, you tell me another tale; a very different one, I say, you give me now from formerly, when I was making presents; a different one from formerly, when with kindness and good words you used to entice me to your house. Then did your house even smile upon me, when I used to come to you. You used to say that I alone of all loved you and her. When I had given anything, just like the young ones of a pigeon were you both upon my lips; and all your likings were according to my own liking. You always kept close to me; whatever I requested, whatever I wished, you used to do; what I didn't wish and forbade, that, with carefulness, you used to avoid, nor did you first venture to attempt to do it. Now, you jades, you don't much care either what I do wish or what I don't wish. CLEAERETA
Don't you know? This calling of ours is very like that of the fowler. The fowler, when he has prepared the spot, sprinkles the food about. The birds are accustomed to the spot. 'Tis necessary for him6 to make an outlay, who seeks for gain. They eat often; if they are caught once, they reimburse the fowler. So in like manner here with us. Our house is the spot, I am the fowler, the courtesan is the food, the couch is the decoy, the lovers the birds. By kindly welcoming them, by addressing them courteously, by dallying, and by chattering over the wine, and amusing conversation, they are won. If one of them has touched her bosom, that is not without advantage to the fowler. If he has taken a kiss, him you may take without a net. That you should be forgetful of these things, you who have been schooled so long! ARGYRIPPUS
That's your own fault, in turning away from you a scholar half instructed. CLEAERETA
Come back again without hesitation, if you've got the pay; for the present, be off. Pretends to go. ARGYRIPPUS
Stay, stay; don't you hear me? Say what you think it fair that I should give you for her, that for this year she may be with no one else. CLEAERETA
What, you? Twenty minæ. And on this condition: if any other person shall bring them first to me, to you--good-bye. ARGYRIPPUS
But I---- There's still something that I wish to say to you before you go. CLEAERETA
Say what you please. ARGYRIPPUS
I'm not entirely ruined yet; there's still something more left for me to come to ruin. I have wherewithal to give you what you ask; but I'll give it you on my own terms, that you may be enabled to understand that throughout all this year she is to be at my service, and that, in the meantime, she is to admit no other man whatever to her, besides myself. CLEAERETA
Why, if you choose, the male-servants that are at home, I'll make eunuchs of. In fine, take you care and bring articles of agreement that we will be as you wish. Impose conditions upon us as you wish, and as you shall choose. Do you only bring the money with you, I'll readily put up with the rest. The doors of procurers are very like those of a custom-house officer; if you bring anything, then they are opened; if there is nothing for you to give, then the doors are not opened. Goes into her house. ARGYRIPPUS
to himself . I'm undone, if I don't procure these twenty minæ. And really, unless I make away with this much money, I must come to destruction. Now I'll go to the Forum, and make trial with my resources, with all my endeavours. I'll beg, I'll earnestly entreat each friend as I see him; both good and bad am I determined to apply to, and make trial of. But if I can't borrow it, I'll take it up at interest, I'm resolved. (Goes into the house of DEMÆNETUS.)
1 This custom-house officer: "Istum portitorem privabo portitorio." Cleæreta has just mentioned "portus," "the harbour," meaning her own house, to which, despite of himself, Argyrippus will, by his own passion, be brought back at last. He takes up the metaphor, and says that she, the landing-waiter (portitor), or custom-house officer, shall not, however, get her dues; meaning, that he is determined not to let her have any more of his money.
2 Her lady's maid: "Pedissequa" seems to have been the name of the female-servant, whose duty it was to be constantly in attendance on her mistress; and who probably followed her in the street, whence her name.
3 Two talents of silver: The Attic silver, or Solonian talent, contained 73-100th parts of the old Attic talent. It will be observed that the hag is here adding just one hundred "minæ" to her demand; but it is clear that she is only doing so to provoke Argyrippus, and to amuse herself with his mistress.
4 On Grecian trust: The Greeks were so noted for their want of punctuality in their payments, that it became the general rule among them not to give credit. Consequently, "Grecian trust" became a proverbial saying for "ready money."
5 Trusting is good for nought: "Nihili cocio est." The meaning of this passage is obvious, that "trusting is bad;" but the signification of the word "cocio" has puzzled the Commentators. Gronovius, with some probability, suggests that it is the old form of the word "cautio;" meaning "one who goes upon trust." It may either mean that, or "trusting," or "giving tick," as we familiarly term it; indeed, it is not improbable that the word "cocio" may have been a cant name for "credit." From the remark of Cleæreta, we may conclude that this was a proverbial expression, which had originated in being used by some famous person, or in some celebrated play of that day, all remembrance of which has now perished.
6 'Tis necessary for him: "Necesse est facere sumptum, qui quærit merum." Louis the Twelfth, the King of France, was always quoting this proverb; but it has been remarked, that he failed to make it his rule of conduct.
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